Leeds, Oct 28 (IANS) For long the bridesmaid in Indian billiards, Balachandra Bhaskar, the 43-year-old from Bangalore, authored a big upset when he knocked out defending champion Peter Gilchrist 797-586 to enter the semi-finals of the IBSF World Billiards championship (timed format) here Tuesday.
Joining Bhaskar in the penultimate round was fellow-Bangalorean, 29-year old Pankaj Advani who held off Rupesh Shah 916-665 while England’s David Causier overcame Dhruv Sitwala 1146-616 and another home player Robert Hall wore down Devendra Joshi 862-611 to complete the line-up.
In the semi-finals which will be played over four hours later Tuesday, Advani, who uncorked the tournament’s highest break of 701 followed by 575 in the previous round against Alok Kumar, takes on Causier while Bhaskar meets Hall.
Bhaskar, always in the shadows of Advani and billiards legend Geet Sethi, showcased his undoubted but late-blooming talent in vanquishing Gilchrist, the Singapore-based English star, for the biggest win of his billiards career so far.
The decisive moment came when Bhaskar crafted a break of 204 to open up a 300-point lead in the latter part of the three-hour contest.
Though Gilchrist made a fight of it, the deficit was far too much to make up and Bhaskar, twice runner-up in the Indian National championship, came home a worthy winner.
Advani was very much the star on Monday night as he posted a break of 701 that began with a fluke red pot, but he was pretty much on song thereafter against old foe Alok Kumar before winning 1783-457.
The massive run ended when he failed to pot a red, but on his very next visit to the table, Advani blasted a 575 to effectively seal the match against an opponent who in the past was his nemesis. So much so that Alok Kumar was barely in the frame throughout the three hours of the match.
Quarter-finals (3 hrs): Pankaj Advani bt Rupesh Shah 916 (150, 114)-665 (104, 107); David Causier (ENG) bt Dhruv Sitwala 1146 (111, 146, 163, 229)-616 (103); Balachandra Bhaskar bt Peter Gilchrist (SIN) 797 (105, 104, 204)-586; Robert Hall (ENG) bt Devendra Joshi 862 (150)-611 (101).
Pre-quarter-finals (3 hrs): Advani bt Alok Kumar 1783 (135, 118, 701, 575)-457; Causier bt Aditya Agarwal 1702 (204, 150, 112)-452; Sitwala bt Ashok Shandilya 679 (140)-616; Shah bt Phil Mumford (ENG) 952 (142)-490; Joshi bt Steve Brookshaw (ENG) 1266 (108, 180, 100, 201)-453; Bhaskar bt Robin Wilson (ENG) 775 (101, 179, 101)-698 (206); Gilchrist bt Sourav Kothari 761 (180, 101)-701 (257); Hall bt Matthew Bolton (AUS) 731 (224, 133)-687 (108, 122).